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Waste nappies offer concrete solution

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The University of Kitakyushu researchers from Japan have found an innovative way to produce low carbon concrete but left field does not do it justice.  

To tackle waste management and create low carbon building materials, the University of Kitakyushu researchers used shredded waste nappies within a concrete mix. 

The nappies replaced sand within the concrete mix with tests, published in the Scientific Reports journal and the RIBA journal, showing concrete with up to 10% of the fine aggregates replaced by shredded used nappies could be used in a three-storey house build.

Further studies used ratios of 10-19 per cent of sand replaced with waste nappies to build a two-storey house, and replacing 19-27 per cent was suitable to build a single-storey house was possible under Indonesian building standards.

The mix was made of shredded disposable nappies with cement, gravel, sand, gravel and water which was then curated 28 days.

The University of Kitakyushu researchers used funding from Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Science and Technology, and Indonesian renewable energy and waste management consultancy Awina Sinergi International for the innovative development.

However, several barriers to entry were identified including how to obtain the needed amount of disposable nappies, needing to wash and sanitise the nappies and scaling the mixture.

“Dirt and health issues have become our concern to ensure acceptance in a society where people may refuse to use the materials as a part of their home,” study’s lead author Siswanti Zuraida told RIBAJ.

“In addition, existing building rules and regulations [in Indonesia] are limited to conventional building materials, so the role for the government in regulating these innovative materials needs to be opened up.”

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